Which Ammo to Stockpile?

Security is a top priority when it comes to prepping, and part of that security is stockpiling the necessary guns that you need to defend yourself, your home, and your property. Most survival experts recommend that you stockpile a variety of guns, with each gun being used for a different purpose.

For example, a .22 rifle can be used for plinking to keep your shooting skills up, to introduce new people to shooting, and for small game hunting. A handgun serves as your primary sidearm and the gun you have strapped to your hip each day. A pump action shotgun serves as your primary home defense gun and can also be used for bird hunting. A semi-automatic rifle is used for defense of your property against multiple attackers. A bolt action rifle in a larger caliber is a suitable choice for big game hunting. The list could go on if you want it to, but these five weapons (.22 rifle, handgun, shotgun, semi-automatic rifle, bolt action rifle) are the five most important guns to have as a prepper.

However, each of these guns will be practically useless if you don’t have ammunition for them. Sure, you can use them as a club, but if you were going to use a club why not just use, well, an actual club?

How Much You Should Store?

And not only should you stockpile ammunition for these guns, you should stockpile LOTS of ammunition for these guns. You never know how long the grid down will last for and you should also keep in mind that ammunition will be a valuable commodity and trading item in a prepping situation. At minimum, have at least one thousand rounds of ammunition per caliber stored away.

But what we’re going to talk about now is the specific kind of ammunition to stockpile, based off of those five guns that are the most critical to own for prepping.


The first gun we mentioned is a .22 rifle, which means obviously the ammunition you need to stockpile for it is .22 LR. .22 LR is an excellent training round and furthermore is great for small game hunting and varmint pest control. The neat thing about .22 as well is because it’s so small, you can stockpile A LOT of it. The same box that holds 50 rounds of 9mm for example can carry hundreds of rounds of .22 LR. Due to the ammunition shortages that occurred in 2013, .22 LR is not quite as plentiful as it once was but it’s starting to become more prevalent now.

Next gun you need is a handgun, which can either be a semi-automatic pistol or a revolver. If you opt for the more traditional revolver, the obvious best caliber is .357 Magnum. This is because a revolver chambered for .357 not only has a lot of stopping power, but it can also chamber and shoot .38 Special, increasing the overall versatility of the weapon. However, a .38 Special revolver CANNOT chamber and shoot .357 Magnum. Furthermore, both .38 Special and .357 Magnum are very plentiful and easy to find.

If you choose a semi-automatic pistol to be your sidearm, stick to the ‘big three’ pistol rounds: 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. These are simply the three cheapest and most common pistol rounds, meaning that you will be able to store the most rounds for them and furthermore be more likely to find them in the aftermath of a disaster. Remember that ammo availability is critical in choosing which calibers you will be using. Of these three calibers, 9mm pistols typically hold the most bullets in the magazine but 9mm also has the least amount of stopping power out of these. On the flip side of things, .45 caliber pistols typically hold significantly fewer rounds while having nearly twice as much stopping power as the 9mm. .40 S&W is seen by many as a compromise between the 9mm and the .45 since it offers almost the same large capacity of a 9mm with stopping power rivaling a .45, but at the same time, many .40 S&W pistols are built on 9mm frames meaning that they have a shorter service life than the 9mm versions.

When it comes to your home defense and/or hunting shotgun, go with either 12 Gauge or 20 Gauge. Again, ammo availability is crucial and these are the two most common shotgun rounds on the market. The 20 Gauge is the better choice for women and smaller statured shooters because it has less recoil while still delivering plenty of knockdown power. The 12 Gauge is a better choice for shooters who can handle the recoil because it has even more knockdown power than the 20 Gauge has.


For your mid-range semi-automatic rifle, stick with 5.56x45mm NATO/.223 Remington or 7.62x39mm. Weapons such as the AR-15, Ruger Mini-14, or IWI Tavor are chambered for the 5.56 while the AK-47 is chambered for the 7.62x39mm. Both of these rounds are very plentiful and in great abundance. The one you go with is largely dependent on your chosen weapon platform.

When it comes to your bolt-action rifle, you have a huge number of options but when it comes to ammo availability, .308 Winchester and .30-06 Springfield are your best choices.There is virtually no sporting goods or gun store that won’t have these two calibers on the shelves and furthermore they offer great performance. This is because with either the .308 or the .30-06, you are being given plenty of range and knockdown power allowing to bring down large game at long distances.

Keep in mind that you should also store at least some ammunition for guns that you don’t have. This is because they won’t only be valuable when it comes to bartering and trading, but you may also find empty guns lying around that are chambered for those rounds. So even if your pistol is chambered for 9mm for example, you should still store at least one or two boxes of .40 S&W and/or .45 ACP in the event that you find a .40 or .45 pistol lying around.

Dave Steen

About The Author: Dave is a 58 year old survivalist; father of three; with over 40 years of survival experience. He started young, learning survival the hard way, in the school of hard knocks. Now, after years of study, he's gray-haired and slightly overweight. That hasn't dimmed his interest in survival though. If anything, Dave has a greater commitment to survival than ever, so that he can protect his family. Click Here To Read More About Dave

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